Movie Monday: Closer to Heaven (2009)

Starring: Ha Ji Won as Ji-Soo, Kim Myung Min as Baek Jong-woo

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 121 min

Twinkies: 3 1/2 handkerchiefs


Synopsis: Ji-soo, a funeral director, happens to oversee the funeral services of Jong-woo’s deceased mother. Being old friends, they are excited by the unexpected reunion, but the reality is more bitter than sweet. Jong-woo is suffering from the incurable Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Ji-soo has been through two painful divorces. Jong-woo lightheartedly asks Ji-soo to just marry him. Ji-soo is surprised by the offer, but it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to her. She wants to start a new life with the love that is starting to grow inside her, while the fear of losing Jong-woo scares her as well. despite the disapproval of those around her, Ji-soo still goes through with the marriage to Jong-woo. As Jong-woo’s symptoms beginning to worsen with each passing day, Jong-woo gets easily irritable as he begins to lose control over more and more parts of his body. Even though he hurts Ji-soo’s feelings, all she wants is to stay with him and cure his disease.

Musings: Happy movie? Closer to Heaven is not meant to be one. What it does, very effectively, is to show how we deal with love and relationships as we also deal with death. Ji Soo dealt with death every day working at her father’s funeral home. As a matter of fact, I don’t think she thought too much of death at all before she began her relationship with Jong-woo.



Not only did we watch Jung-woo and Ji Soo’s relationship grow but we also got to witness death in general. The movie features other characters and their family relationships when dealing with a family member and their illness; a brother dealing with his brother’s illness; mother and her daughter; older woman and her husband; and a husband with his vegetative state wife.

Kim Myung Min’s transformation to Jung-woo was shocking! I read somewhere he lost a lot of weight for this role! He totally is a consummate actor to immerse himself into the role of a man suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease. Having seen him in other roles, he was totally unrecognizable!
Ha Ji Won, as the sometime forward Ji Soo was fun. Throughout the movie, her attempts to get pregnant before he died were kind of hysterical. Seeing her in this type of role is kind of different. Other than Sex is Zero, she generally plays the “Girl Next Door” roles so this was refreshingly different. Yes, this is not a happy movie nor does it have a happy ending. But what it does for us is help us see how to handle death. I remember the first time I saw this was probably 2 months after my father passed away from Pancreatic cancer, one of the worse cancers to have with extremely low survival rate. Surprisingly, I think having experienced this personally, I was less affected and sad. I thought it was well put together story but definitely not for everyone.

Trailer is available on on YouTube Website only. The movie is available on several sites. Ask me if your interested.

I’m available on Twitter. Thanks to all of you Twinkles out here who are taking the time to read! If you have a suggestion for a future review, just leave me a comment! I’m always happy to have movie suggestions.

17 thoughts on “Movie Monday: Closer to Heaven (2009)”

  1. I watched this movie a couple of weeks ago and really liked it, too. It was my first Kim Myung Min experience and I admired how he transformed for his role and how he played this difficult part. He is a wonderful actor.

    As you said, it is not for everyone, but it is a good movie one should at least try to watch.

  2. NKA, I don’t think I will be watching this one. I have become a Ji Won fan because of someone couch couch lol. I watched Smile You and the last 6 or so Ep delt with grand dad suffering from liver cancer. OMG I have never cried so much. If that was not enough I finished up Assorted Jewels and they deal with althimers sorry about spelling. Death is never a easy subject for a movie. Thank you for another good movie.

        1. Surprisingly, not a one. Well, maybe one might qualify as one. I wish I could do Psychometry but I have to wait until someone actually has it. A FANTASTIC MOVIE!!

      1. I thought it was going to have my girls in them LOL
        Eugene, Lee Min Jung,Go Hyun Jung I seen everything that Park Shin Hye done lol. Her new one Miracle in Cell #7 I don’t think is out yet. Thanks for no sad one’s been sick and no sleep so you say BOO and I get teary eyed lol. GFB the last two eps have been gut wrenchers. We all need to buy stock in tissue company. I know what ever you pick will be good even the sad one was a good pick. I watched about 20 mins and got while the getting was good. “fighting”

        1. I’ve designated August as Russ’ choices! So give me your favorites ladies! I already have 2 movies in mind, I need 2 more.

          1. NKA you would be proud of me. I watched it this afternoon and I did not cry lol. Keeping my I seen everyone you picked so far going. It was a sad one for sure but for me it got me to thinking how lucky I am and to be happy with what I have.

            I like Kim Jung Eun I think she is a nice looking woman also.
            Then there is dimples herself Shin Min Ah. She is naturally pretty I seen some of her model pics and even then the makeup is not heavy. So there the other two. It is cool you are doing it in Aug my bday is then on the 20th. Thanks that is nice of you to do this. Gives you a bow and a hug lol Kamsahamnida!

  3. Thank you for another great recommendation! I’ll look this one up on YouTube. So far all the movies/ dramas I’ve watched starring Ha Ji-won have her acting cutesy at some stage – i have yet to watch As One and Haeundae – so i appreciate your linking me to her other work!

    Would you compare this in any way to A Thousand Days’ Promise? (i think that’s what it’s titled; with Su Ae and Kim Rae -won)

    1. Sorry, I couldn’t get past the first ep of 1000day. When he left Su Ae’s character to go to his engagement party, a big turn-off for me! I’m having a hard time with Shark for the same reason. Only Kim Nam Gil can make me watch something I generally avoid: adulterous like relationships.

  4. Jules you sound like me. I am not into the messing around and I will not watch something that has beating and banging on a woman if I know a head of time. Rape is the same way I really had a hard time with the bad guy GW in GFB when he did what he did in Ep 2 I think it was. Mite sound like a wuss but when you know someone that the above has happen to it leaves a mark.
    Do they make any Sci Fi movies Jules other than changing bodies? Like I said before you always do a good job of picking good movies. 🙂

      1. I figured. Yes. I have a couple I will be watching and possibly reviewing. Doomsday Book is one; another I have not watched called Heaven’s Soldier and Yesterday. All on my PTW list but have not yet.

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